Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Return to Creepy Hollow


Thanks for the email and for your work on this. I know Winston and will give him a call to reinforce our need to collaborate to address this problem. In addition, I will contact Code and Rick Copeland at OPD to determine what course of action we can take. Let me know if there are other things you think I can do to be helpful. Happy Thanksgiving.

Mike Carpenter

"Brad's Notes"

My thanks to County Commissioner Mike Carpenter for responding so quickly to my email request. I had the chance to speak to Mr. Winston Gibson who owns said property, and he was clearly disturbed and frustrated by this ongoing issue. On at least three occasions Mr Gibson has been fined by the Shelby County Health Dept. and code enforcement. The problem according to Mr. Gibson is that the dirt road path used by the trespassers is an easement used by the owners of property to the east of Gibson's land. These property owners need the dirt road leading into Creepy Hollow in order to reach their property and a source of income...that source being.....The Billboards overlooking the interstate, Billboards reported owned by
There is another group who also uses this trial thru Mr Gibson's property and that is the Railroad Police, who watch, monitor and secure the Train lines that run along side the Northern border of Mr Gibson's Property.

Mr Gibson has had the area cleaned several times and says that he has no problem with cleaning up his property, but that the Trespassers just add more trash in short order.In fact his iron gate that briefly blocked the Well Station entrance has been on one occasion torn down by the Trespassers and on another cut with somekind of welding torch. So it seems so far that Mr Gibson may be just as much a victim as the local residents. Afterall, on one hand he has a road on his property that he does not want, does not need, and yet cannot block and yet since it is his property he is held responsible for what occurs on it. He personally wants to sale the land, dig a pitt or put up natural barriers to thru traffic but fears that by blocking this trail he may be dragged into Court yet again for violating Comcast's right of way.

.......But keeping people off of that land is problematic, as the Groups of people trespassing on his land are diverse in activity and motivation.

It seems clear that if this is true then it is only right and fair that Comcast and the Railroad Company also share in the responsibility of keeping the area safe, clean and free of Criminal trespassers. I hope that we as a coalition, can bring all those parties to the table along with the Law Enforcement Community and local residents to try and cure this problem. I'll be staying with this growing and complicated issue as things develop.

It Hurts to Agree With You

What's it say when I somewhat agree with Bill Hobbs about my own party?

Chances are, the average voter across Tennessee was more aware of the steady stream of convicted felons, drunks and outright thieves exiting the state legislature in recent years, virtually all of them from the D party, and was equally aware at how Democrat leaders were so reluctant to drop the hammer on their corrupt colleagues, to criticize them in harsh specifics, or to call for and work for their ouster.

Couldn't agree with you more, although the next paragraph is bull.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Legend of Creepy Hollow......

Mr Winston Gibson,

My name is Brad Watkins and I am the Organizing Coordinator with the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center. I am writing you today to confirm if your company owns the wooded properties east of the corner of Chelsea and Wells Station, in the Berclair/Nutbush area According to the Shelby County Assessor of Property website,this area is owned by your company, Gibson Mechanical, and G & P Development.

Mr Gibson, via calls from some of our members in the local community, it has come to my attention that the properties in question are routinely used by a wide assortment of individuals who are in fact trespassing on your property. As a result the community at large has been disrupted by the criminal element illegally using your property to commit various act raging from dumping of trash and dead animal carcasses, to trespassing with recreational riding of four wheelers and trucks...i.e. "muddin'" to more dangerous activities such as car theft, the sale of illegal drugs and the discharging of firearms, either in acts of violence to simple recreational target practicing and The ILLEGAL hunting of Deer, within the city limits.

Now I want to be clear, that from my conversations with area residents and local business owners that we believe you have made good faith efforts to keep your property clear of such activities,however we feel that such efforts need a more community wide investment in order to be fully effective. It is the intention of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center in contact and in cooperation along with local residents, businesses, and with the cooperation of Railroad and Municipal police to work in concert with you to alleviate this mutual problem. I would like to have a moment of your time perhaps next week to briefly talk to you about these concerns as we are currently working to host a Community meeting in the coming weeks to build a coalition effort to...

1. Increase Police protection in that area., including the return of patrols in the wooded area with police jeeps. This was effective in curbing such activities in the past.

2. Work with code enforcement and MLGW in clearing of clogged drain water paths. The excess vegetation impares visibility of the Train tracks at the corner of Wells Station and Chelsea, and has served as a "ambush spot" according to two long time neighborhood residents.

3 The creation of a Neighborhood watch program, in attempts to push the criminal effort away from an area with so many elderly residents, residents who now feel largely like prisoners within their own communities.In fact my first call came from a woman, now Eighty Seven years old, who has been robbed three times in the last four months.

I have CC. this email to relevant members of the Memphis City Council,MLGW, and Code Enforcement to keep them informed of this situation. It is our hope that we by working as a united front, can cure this situation to the satisfaction of all concerned.

I have attached maps and pics of the areas in question as well as pictures taken earlier this week for your viewing. Some of these pics showing the bodies of dead animals dumped on the side of the path may be graphic.

Thank you for your time, and we look forward to working with you on this issue of mutual importance.

The Bottoms

Creepy Hollow

Brad Watkins
Organizing Coordinator
Mid-South Peace and Justice Center

Credit Where Credit is Due.

Just wanted to take a brief moment to thank some good people for doing good things....

First of all, I want to express, my respect and admiration for my co-worker and friend,Josephine Williams coordinator of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center's GrowMemphis Program. I know for a fact that she works tirelessly for this program, that turns empty lots into Community Gardens, in six neighborhoods in the city, with a goal of adding four more in 2009. Check out this Article in the Commercial Appeal about the GrowMemphis Campaign....while I make myself some eggs. GrowMemphis

Next up I wanted to thank City Council Members Wanda Halbert and BArbara Swearengen Ware for working to restore the Utility Assistance Program. This program was discontinued back in the Summer for a variety of Stupid reasons.
Check out the full article HERE

Please be sure to thank Council members Halbert and Ware for doing the right thing here.

Wanda Halbert
(901) 576-6786

Barbara Swearengen Ware
(901) 458-9406

Lastly, I want to thank Bill Morrison for sponsoring legislation to curb the spread of Predatory Lending locations here within the City Of Memphis. Here is a good article about it. The plan is far from perfect, but is a good step in the right direction. Pay attention on this one. Go Bill

Bill Morrison
(901) 576-6786

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Brilliance in Voting...

Here you can see some of the challenged ballots in MN. I find it fascninating, amusing, and more than a little scary for democracy how bad we are at casting ballots. I'm casting my vote for Lizardman too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thank You Democrats!

My deepest thanks to all of my fellow bloggers and to all of you who attended our Democratic Solidarity event last night at the Memphis Pizza Cafe. Events like last night prove that even small groups of loyal democrats can and do make a difference.
It also shows that you do not need anyone's permission to stand up and do the right thing by your party. So I want to echo the advice given by The Blogfather If we do not see REAL Change with the New Exec Comm, that will NOT stop us from working to push progressive ideas forward. Hmmmmm Obama day....

Jackson Baker has an article about this event....check it out.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's a Girl!!!

I'm smitten already!!!

And for boys due this year, just know I own two shotguns.

Obama Administration Application

(10.) Writings: Please list and, if readily available, provide a copy of each book, article, column or publication (including but not limited to any posts or comments on blogs or other websites) you have authored, individually or with others.

Anyone else regret snarkily referencing your love of Satan and sex with poodles during flame wars?

Also, we find out what the baby is today!!! Woot!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Democratic Solidarity Event-Tues. Nov 18th

What-Democratic Solidarity Event
When-Tuesday, November 18th
Where-Memphis Pizza Cafe. 2087 Madison ave.
Time- 6:30pm-8:30pm
Suggested donation-All Donations Welcome

First of all I wanted to tip my hat and extend my sincerest thanks to all of you who got out there and worked during this historic election season. From the incredible grassroots efforts of the local Obama campaign, to the campaigns for Steve Cohen, Bob Tuke, Paul Shaffer, and Freda Williams, to the Yes on Five campaign and to all the hard work done by staff,interns and volunteers here at Change Memphis, you and your efforts win or lose did make a difference.

......But before you take a well deserved rest, there is one tiny little piece of bookkeeping that I feel we all as Progressives and as Democrats need to address.

This election was not without it's share of controversy, however as we have seen there has been much discord over the printing and distributing of ballots from the Shelby County Democratic Party brand bearing the now infamous "VOTE NO ON REFERENDUMS" box. This "misprint" misrepresented the official position of the Shelby County Democratic Party executive committee and was an unauthorized addition to the official party ballot. This event cause great confusion and had the potential to mislead the public and tarnish the democratic brand for years to come. Fortunately a loyal democrat stood up and paid money out of his own pocket in order to correct this "mistake". That Democrat was County Commissioner Steve Mulroy.

Despite this generous gesture on his part, and the efforts of other loyal Democrats these bogus ballots were still being distributed all the way to election day. Thankfully these actions were not in vain as the will of the people was clearly demonstrated on election day. Dwayne Thompson, a member of the executive committee proposed a resolution, that the SCDP would reimburse Mulroy for his efforts to correct this "mistake" made by the party. This resolution was blocked by the current leadership and never allowed to reach the floor for a vote.

This is an insult,and it's an insult to each and every one of YOU, who have donated YOUR time,YOUR money and YOUR energy to the cause of helping to elect good democrats and to advance progressive causes. It's an insult because the current leadership of the party has chosen to set itself above and apart from all of those who labor in pursuit of Democratic goals and values. It's an insult because we now have a democratic party, that does not believe in democracy. It's an insult, because it flies in the face of everything we all believe in. This is not about ideology,or personalities. This is not about Faction vs. Faction...it's about RIGHT Vs. WRONG.

So, We would like to extend to you an invitation to attend a Democratic Solidarity fundraiser for the purpose of correcting this "mistake". TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18th,at the Memphis Pizza Cafe, 2087 Madison Ave. 6:30-8:30pm. All funds raised will go to reimbursing Steve Mulroy for the 700.00 dollars that he paid out of pocket to correct the SCDP ballot.

If any additional funds are raised,those donations would go to support the efforts of the Inner City Outreach Center, located in the Foote homes area. this program provides young people in the area a safe place to exercise and play. they also have basketball camps and serve as mentors to boys and young men who have few options in their neighborhood.

We hope to see you all there.


The Progressive Bloggers of Shelby County.

Brad Watkins and David Holt Confessions of a West Tennessee Liberal

Steve Steffens- Leftwing cracker

Derek Haire-the flypaper theory

Steve Ross-Vibinc

Polar Donkey

Rick Maynard-Freedonian

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

To Grandma in Regards to Gay Marriage:

Keith Olberman tends to get on my nerves, but sometimes not:

Friday, November 07, 2008

What I Want From the SCDP:

What I Want From the SCDP:

1. Chairman: I want a Chair who is progressive, active, and experienced. We need someone who knows how to organize, keep people informed, build relationships, and ACTUALLY EFFING SHOW UP!

2. Steering Committee: We need a steering committee that is transparent, keeps the members up to date, and does not run roughshod over the executive committee. Honestly, the steering committee has almost no power, and the executive committee has simply failed to stand up for itself.

3. Internship: We have an army of young, progressive Democrats in high schools and colleges across the city. Use them. For a little college credit and a bit of oversight, we can harness these people’s energy. This also creates lifelong Democratic voters, volunteers, donors, and future leaders. Imagine teams of interns canvassing voters from the party every weekend.

4. Precinct organizations: The ground work for effective neighborhood leadership has started and needs to expand.

5. Neighborhood clubs: These clubs need to be encouraged and expanded.

6. Party Newspaper: For all the bellyaching over costs, the newspaper was a success when we had it. It paid for itself and got our message out there. Bring it back. Also create an online newsletter to reach out to voters, donors, and activists cheaply and easily.

7. Candidate recruitment: We can sweep every county-wide office if we work to ensure we actually have competent candidates run for each office (and not whoever the hell Roderic Ford was.)

8. Fundraising: As hard as it is, Kennedy Day should be yearly not every other year. Also, we need to put SERIOUS efforts into small dollar fundraisers and recurring monthly online contributions.

9. Community outreach: we need to be useful to people. Volunteer to clean up a park or work a soup kitchen as a party. We can host forums on issues to educate voters and debates to let voters see candidates.

10. Register voters: The high schools are full of seniors turning 18. Schools allow registration in the cafeteria. These voters will likely be Democrats. Obama won by expanding the voter rolls and so can we. There are countless neighborhoods in Memphis that are incredibly under-registered.

11. Or we can continue to do nothing because there is absolutely nothing wrong with our party and city that we should work to fix.

It’s not our fault! You suck!

That’s the position of the SCDP and TNDP to any and all criticisms. Are they 100% responsible for our embarrassing showing this week? No. Is it their responsibility to take responsibility, figure out why it happened, and fix it? Hell yes! Instead they just want to stand around and yell “I didn’t do it!”

A Local Disgrace...

Like normal, Keith Norman failed to attend a meeting of the SCDP. The steering committee also refused to address the issue of the ballots that were still being handed out on Election Day or to bring to the floor the motion Dwayne Thompson had sent in to reimburse Steve Mulroy for fixing ballots that were never fixed.

The committee needs to recall their officers at the next meeting. The leadership of the party has become a joke, and those responsible should be removed.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


I told you so......

As I said before, to those who sought to keep the voting public blind and unaware of the Charter amendments with the "Vote No" on referendums plot.....YOU LOSE. All TEN BALLOT ITEMS PASSED BY WIDE MARGINS

Here are a few reasons why....

This year, we saw incredible voter turnout here in Shelby County. Voters especially Black American voters showed up to the polls in huge numbers. We came to the polls hoping to vote for a change in Washington. We were also looking for a change right here in Memphis. So, what was your strategy?....to treat Black voters like children and urge them to place a thoughtless "NO" vote on all the referendums. Surprise, surprise...it did not work. Imagine that...the very idea that people might be a little offended that you would condescend to TELL them how to vote without any explanation...I have a feeling that it never occurred to you did it? You were either too lazy, or to arrogant to run an open honest campaign presenting your point of view. If you had it could have at least opened the doors to some conversation and debate within the Black community, and that would have been a positive thing....it would of at least been honest. Nah, on second thought, you could not run an open campaign, because you would not want to reveal to Black voters in this city, just how little you think of them. Ballot-Gate was not only a failure of local Democratic leadership, it was also a failure of local Black political leadership.
You see what we have is a group of Black political leaders who have set themselves up as the Electoral Gatekeepers of the Black community. Members of this group have now over time become corrupted by the system they sought to reform, and now they have confused what is in their interest with what is in the interest of the Black community. In their growing arrogance they now seek to keep our own people politically ignorant, content to simply take orders to further their own narrow and personal agendas. It's a tragic story, but a common one in the histories of all racial groups in American politics.

In this campaign season Change Memphis had been working tirelessly to reach out to the voting public and provide unbiased information about the TEN City and County Charter amendments. We had been phone banking at least three nights a week since JULY. e hosted four community forums in low income, low voter turn out areas. We had poll workers at more locations than any other campaign in this county during early voting.
We canvassed and went door to door in two shifts EVERY Saturday in October. We worked really hard and gave the people the facts, and they responded by choosing YES on ALL TEN AMENDMENTS.I didn't like all of these amendments myself, but the people have spoken, and I am loving it. So after a failure of this magnitude...I have to ask...was it worth it? Was it worth dragging the Democratic brand threw the mud? Was it worth alienating Democrats with all of the bad press that came from this debacle? Was it worth stealing and misappropriating the party ballot for your own ends? It can't have been.

As I said before, this loss is even made worse by the fact that by having to engage in such dirty tactics to win. You show just how vulnerable and weak you really are....and now everyone knows it. It's one thing to "cheat to win" it's another to cheat, and STILL LOSE.

Think about it....and really consider if your actions were truly in the best interest of the black community ...or was it just about you and your ego? Whatever the case, the genie is out of the bottle, people are really thinking about the politics of their City, County and Country.

The one thing you can't stop them from doing...is thinking.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Feel Great Weds?....or....Who's laughing now?

Words are very... unnecessary , they can only do harm...

Monday, November 03, 2008

Feel Good Tuesday or Reverse Messiah Worship

On a personal note.

I am so grateful to have been a part of the Change Memphis program. Over the past five months, I have had the privilege of being the Organizing Coordinator for Change Memphis, a campaign experience like any other, I have been involved with. In this campaign, we target not the most likely voters but the unlikely. We target the precincts that are low turn out, lower income, and all to frequently ignore by campaigns that cannot afford the time to cover those areas where few votes are to be found. I can understand that, winning elections takes votes, and you have to go where the votes are.However, I am still often irritated by the attitudes of a rare few who write off those areas. In fact while working on this campaign I met a person working on another campaign, talk about how people in those type of areas should vote more, then the elected officials will listen to him. Which is basically true. However, I do think that that knife cuts both ways. If politicians want to get more votes in areas then they need to go to these areas sometime and show the people that they give a damn. Now, many politicians DO, Mike Kernell is a good example of that, Harold Ford Sr., like him or hate him, was the master of constituent service....a lesson Junior never learned, there are others as well.

I want to take this time to say that this has been a very rewarding experience, the people in these neighborhoods were for the most part friendly, interested and surprisingly politically insightful. They knew things about this city, that alot of "Really smart experts" have missed. They were not unlikely voters..they were voters who nobody ever asked to vote. We Registered over 1500 new voters , mostly from areas like these. They want to vote, they just need someone to give them a chance.

Lemme tell you a story. I was going door to door, trying to register voters, in the Brown mall section of Vance-Orlenes area. I decided to try and get a feel for the neighborhood. So I went to the stores, stopped by a church fish-fry and yard sale.
At the Yard sale, I went around and passed out some CM lit and spoke to them about the Charter amendments. Most of the people were..older, so my natural impulse was to go to them first.There was also a small trio of young women sitting in the shade of the Church. There was a volunteer for another campaign there,who, rushed right past me handing out buttons, and her instincts also told her to go to the older women first. So she walked right past the trio,and made a b-line to the older women. So, I did not want to crowd the ladies with "Voting stuff" so i decided to talk to the trio. Their anger surprised me, they not only knew why the other volunteer had ignored them, they also knew why. "Yeah, the old folks vote...they don't do nuthin but watch the news, so of course they gonna vote. What she needed to be doing was talkin to us. Were the ones who are gonna win this election. They need to understand and do better!" The tall tomboyish one passionately said. "Shit, we are about to head to the polls in a minute, but she just ...wrote us off, without saying nothing."
Her friend complained. So I spoke with them and let them vent to me for about twenty minutes, and they thanked me for it. I understood not only what this campaign was, but I think for the first time, I truly understood the why. It's about them,those three girls who everyone has written off.No one ever tried to register them before. We don't fund their schools, police do not keep them safe from crime, or drugs. Hell, I have canvassed at least two crack houses, Walked up on a "corner" and did not realize it....at first. Had a religious debate with a woman, drinking a forty with a gun on her hip."A big action hero type gun" So after all this, these young girls are expected to think their vote counts?...and yet despite this........THEY DO WANT TO VOTE! THEY JUST NEED TO BE TREATED WITH SOME RESPECT.

In another neighborhood, I was trying my best to reach out to the Berclair area, with blacks, whites, and Latinos...and growing tensions. I found a Seniors group at the local community center, and spoke at a meeting of over seventy elderly residents.
Later that week, one of the ladies called me at the office. She did not have a question about the Charter amendments, but instead wanted to know about a court case she was involved in. She had evicted a tenant and sued for damages. She had not had any contact with the courts for sometime, and had lost her paperwork, and did not knw what was going on. So, for some reason she decides to call me. So I tried to calm her down, and took her information down , called General Sessions, and got the information for her and explained who to call about these things and gave her all the information I managed to find. It was nothing complicated, or sensitive.She could have done it herself,but she just did not know where to start. This also drove home to me what this campaign is all about. Most people do not know how government works, and local government is a real mystery to most people. They know the names, but not the policies. It's our job as progressives or Democrats to make sure this kind of information is out there. Not trying to convince or con people, but by giving them the tools to make their own choices, and trusting democracy enough to believe that they will make the right ones.

I have had a great time...well...no...it's been brutal and hard....and I lost my temper alot.......but really great too. Good Luck tomorrow to you all.

A few words for all of us working the election tonight and tomorrow....From Sci-Fi's greatest Community Organizer.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


Resolution to Reimburse Commissioner Steven Mulroy for correcting the Democratic Ballot

Whereas the Shelby County Democratic Party voted to endorse Democratic Candidates for the November 4, 2008 General election but voted to take a position against only the Charter amendment related to term limits on the ballot and did not take a position on any of the other ordinances or referenda, and

Whereas the official Democratic Party Ballot mistakenly included the language “Vote on Referendum SAY NO TO REFERENDUMS,” and

Whereas the Steering Committee, in a special meeting, passed a resolution to hold a press conference explaining the SCDP’s position on charter amendments and to reprint the ballots with corrections reflecting the Party’s position on the charter amendments; and

Whereas the Steering committee accepted the offer of Commissioner Steven Mulroy to personally pay to have the mistaken language obscured on the Democratic ballot by A1 Printers, a union printer in Memphis, and

Whereas the Executive Committee deems it in the best interest of the SCDP to take economic responsibility for the necessary corrections to the Democratic ballot.

Therefore, be it resolved that the Treasurer of the Shelby County Democratic Executive Committee be instructed to reimburse Commissioner Mulroy for these costs up to $700 upon receiving a receipt from A1 Printers for the above mentioned printing job.

Submitted on October 30, 2008 by Dwayne Thompson, Member from District 96.

"Brad's Notes"

I just wanted to thank SCDP Executive Committeeman Dwayne Thompson, for his leadership on this issue. Steve Mulroy has been treated in an unfair and disrespectful manner. This guy put up his own money to correct the "Vote NO" section of the SCDP ballot and as you can see these efforts were somewhat in vain. There were bogus ballot sightings on an almost daily basis, and there is no excuse for this sort of thing. So thanks again to Committeeman Dwayne Thompson.
I want to ugre any member of the Committee that reads this to please sign on to co sponsor this Resolution.